The Kids of Widney High, a band made up of young adults with developmental disabilities, will be playing a show in Santa Barbara as part of their first-ever West Coast Tour. Coming from Widney High, a special education high school in Los Angeles, the group writes, records, and produces their own music-alternative rock that incorporates harmonica, guitar, drum, and bass.
Created in 1988 by Widney High teacher Michael Monagan, the band members are always changing, as the band is made up of current students who create their songs during class. With hits such as “Insects” and “Respect” (a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s legendary song), the Kids cover all sorts of topics from wanting to be treated equally to overcoming their disgust of bees, bugs, and flies.
Self-proclaimed “rebellious member” of the band, Luis “Pee-Wee” Fernandez, is excited to be going on tour with his band for the first time. As one of the band’s many vocalists, he explained, “We are students who started writing songs, and then began to perform around Los Angeles.”
The Kids also have a documentary due out at the end of this year. Featuring the Kids on tour, the film will also show what the group does during off time, such as the art they work on and, as Pee-Wee put it, “just all the things we like to do.”
Along with their music and upcoming documentary, The Kids of Widney High also have a new clothing line, which they’ve dubbed Better Bacon. Designed by the band members themselves, the tees feature art that each member drew and also have “hang tags” that explain the artist’s motive behind the design. The shirts can be found and purchased online at shopkitson.com.
With a mission like reaching millions and showing that developmentally disabled people are no different when it comes to rockin’ out, Santa Barbara undoubtedly is in for a great show.
The Kids of Widney High will hit La Casa de La Raza (601 E. Montecito St.) on Friday, July 4. The show starts at 10 a.m., making it the perfect way to start any and all of your 4th of July celebrations.
Adriana Zyskowski is an Independent intern.